Is Linux right for you?

Yes. But don't get scared. A Windows system's look and feel are determined by the OS itself: Windows defines what menu bars, scroll bars, dialogue boxes and so forth will look like. Linux doesn't provide such definitions - XFree86, the GUI architecture that ships with all Linux distributions, doesn't dictate the look and feel of the interface. Another piece of software, called a window manager, handles that job. The window manager you select (there are many) determines what your on-screen windows, menus and buttons look like, but it may not provide other features, such as a taskbar. Your desktop environment handles that.

The two main desktop environments currently vying for Linux supremacy are GNOME and KDE. Despite some differences in software architecture, both provide a taskbar, an application launcher resembling the Windows Start menu, and various applets (note-pad, calculator, CD player, and so on). Corel Linux OS and Caldera OpenLinux ship with KDE. RedHat Linux and Linux-Mandrake ship with both environments, but RedHat defaults to GNOME whereas Mandrake defaults to KDE.

Neither environment is superior. Both put a clean, straightforward interface on top of Linux - so most Windows users who have never seen Linux before can start to work right after the installation. Both the GNOME and KDE environments are open-source, collaborative efforts, and the development teams for each are striving to build free office applications that will one day be integral parts of their respective environments.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matthew Newton

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?